So, I’ve seen a few lists of ‘must-have Moscow apps and you know what? I decided they suck. You readers deserve a less sucky, more detailed list – and here it is.
Apps for language
1) Google Translate
Sitting on my throne, way up high in my ivory tower of Russian language skills, I find it hard to imagine getting around without knowing at least some Russian, but shitballs, not everyone has the time or desire.
Sure, you all know Google Translate, but the app shines in a whole new way. You can take a picture and Google will translate the text for you, right there on your battery-sucking smart phone. Sure, it won’t help you understand the tirade of verbal abuse that homeless alcohol man is shouting at you, but by scanning things like food labels in the supermarket, it will help you avoid accidently buying goat testicles instead of canned beef. Delicious.
You can read into this function a bit more here.
Ok, ok so I know the Russian for ball bearing and the verb ‘to whittle’ but there are things I don’t know, and when I’m not chained to my computer (or newborn baby) the Multitran dictionary app is my go-to to quickly look up words.
I also love the paid desktop version too which is great for technical translations.
IOS download- Sorry Apple lovers, you guys don't have this one (yet), so try this app instead
Oh, and before we move on, if you are serious about learning Russian, don’t miss my post on how to learn Russian like a Boss.
Apps for getting around
3) Yandex metro
What better place to start than with the human squash fest that is the Moscow Metro. Now, the next few apps will kind of be a Yandex lovefest, but I have to give it to them, when they’re not blindly ripping off Google (zing!), they make some pretty good stuff.
Their metro app is a piece of cake to use, shows you estimated arrival times and different route AND it’s in English and Russian so you’re good to go.
Bounus fact: if you have the Yandex metro app installed, you can place your metro ticket over your smartphone and it will tell you how many journies you have left. Almost useless, but kind of cool.
4) Yandex maps
We all know about Google maps and you probably have it as a default, but as much as it pains me to say it, the Yandex map app is generally superior when for navigating around Moscow (and Russia in general). Switch on that GPS and you’ll be navigationally shitting all over the other tourists in no time
5) Yandex Navigator
If you hire a car or, for whatever reason, feel the need to test your stress limits on the Russian roads, Yandex Navigator is the best option. I’ve compared it with Google navigation plenty of times and Yandex wins this one.
On a side note, I find none of the mobile navigation apps to be better than my Gamin satnav, but Yandex can be used as a solid standalone option, plus it’s free and has a nice interface and shows traffic along your route is a satisfying angry red, what more could you dream of?
(I have a post all about getting cabs, using taxi apps and how to get a gypsy cab without being sexually assaulted here, give it a read if you plan on using taxis.)
6) Get Taxi
Basically like a Russian Uber. For journeys you know will be on the longer side, try Get taxi. It's around 20 minutes for 400 roubles, but then are mere 2 roubles per minute after that. You’ll want to double check those fares though.
7) Yandex Taxi
Another Uber-esque app and my favourite when returning late at night after hitting the bars. Turn your gps on, type in the address (or let the gps locate you), then hit the search button. You'll usually be able to get a car within 10 minutes and select what type of tariff you want. First ten minutes costs about 250 roubles, then 15 roubles per minute after that. This will be a lot cheaper and a lot safer when getting cars at night.
Culture and movies
8) Afisha app
The Afisha app is home to all things culture, food and entertainment. Just choose the category you’re interested in and see what’s on. I usually use it for exhibitions, although admittedly I haven’t been to one in ages! You can use it for food reviws and all sorts.
If you ever go to the movies in Russia, Kinopoisk is a great app for seeing what’s on, where and checking out reviews. It’s in Russian, but if you have the language chops to go to a movie, you should be able to use an app in Russian without any problems.
10) Yandex Market
This is the first place I go when planning a purchase (apart from clothes, which I refuse to buy here anyway). It lets you find and price compare whatever you want (especially good for tech stuff). I usually use the desktop version, but I have used it in stores too to get a quick idea of how overpriced a particular item is. No amount of sweet Russian sales talk can compete with cold, hard price comparison.
11) XE currency converter
This is my currency app of choice to watch the ruble slowly bottom out on a daily basis. It’s super simple and you can add multiple currencies to it.
That pretty much rounds it up. If you guys think I have missed a solid-gold app, drop me a line in the comments or FB and I’ll get it added to the list.